Multiple Myeloma - Type of Blood Cancer
Q. What is Multiple Myeloma?
Ans. In a human body, usually plasma cells (mature B-lymphocytes) are present in the bone marrow which is vital element of our body immune system. The resistant mechanism is based on various kinds of cells found in the body that work collectively to fight virus and bacterial generated diseases.
Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma is a haematological (blood) cancer that develops in the plasma cells (type of white blood cell) found in the soft, spongy tissue at the centre of your bones, called bone marrow. The bone marrow is where all blood cells are made.
In this disease, original normal healthy plasma cells turn into malignant plasma cells through a multistep process. When typical plasma cells become cancerous, they breed uncontrollably as they separate quickly. Soon, there are too many malignant cells, and they begin to crowd out normal cells in the bone marrow.
Ultimately, the cancer cells overpower healthy blood cells, and the body becomes unable to produce the disease-fighting antibodies. Instead, it starts creating destructive proteins that damage the kidneys and cause other signs and symptoms. This health condition is called multiple myeloma disease.
Q. What is the difference between solitary plasmacytoma and multiple myeloma?
Ans. Once cancerous cells develop in the bone marrow, these cells sometimes forcefully enter in the hard outer part of the bone and then spread into the cavities of the large bones in the body to form a tumour.
When only one tumour is created, it is called a solitary plasmacytoma. But at times multiple small tumours are formed. In this condition cancer cells start accumulating in the bone marrow and multiple tumours start developing hence this disease is called multiple myeloma.
Q. Are there specific symptoms of multiple myeloma?
Ans. Different case study shows that many cancer patients may not experience any alarming sign and symptoms prior to diagnose with the disease but some patients may face unusual health conditions. These symptoms and signs may differ person to person. However, most often it is difficult to recognise them at an early stage as these symptoms feel similar to problems linked with other common diseases.
Q. What are the early signs that may indicate multiple myeloma?
Ans. Signs that don’t indicate much seriousness initially include loss of appetite, weakness, tiredness, confusion, skin rashes, pain, fever etc. These early symptoms are often mistaken for common illnesses.
Q. What are the warning signs related to multiple myeloma?
Ans. Some serious indicators such as increased vulnerability to infections, nerve damage, bleeding and enlarged tongue (macroglossia) may suggest laboratory tests to determine multiple myeloma.
Q. What are the specific symptoms of multiple myeloma?
Ans. If multiple myeloma is suspected in an individual, the doctor may conduct many different urine or blood tests to determine if it is multiple myeloma to finally confirm whether a person is suffering from multiple myeloma.
The most definite multiple myeloma symptoms are:
- Bone injury – Bone-ache or injury is caused by minute fractures in the bone (lytic bone lesions) due to the accumulation of plasma cells and weakened bone structure.
- Anemia (low blood count) — Low levels of red blood cells in the blood cause anemia related fatigue. Most often this leads to decrease in generating white blood cells and ultimately increase vulnerability to infections and decline the resistant system.
- Hypercalcemia — Changes in urination, restlessness, confusion, increased thirst, nausea and loss of appetite are usually a result of high levels of calcium in the blood.
- Kidney malfunction –Blood test or urine test determine kidney diseases. Due to excess protein and calcium levels in the blood result into added health problems and impaired kidney function.
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